Justine Arcand awarded prestigious Fulbright grant

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2017-05-09 15:09:51 - General

Justine Arcand
Justine Arcand 

Coe College graduating senior Justine Arcand has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. The Fulbright award will allow Arcand to teach in South Korea for the 2017-18 academic year.

In all, six graduating Coe seniors and a recent alumna received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards this spring.  The seven recipients represent a new record number of Coe students and recent alumni who have been awarded Fulbrights in a given year. 

Arcand graduated cum laude on May 7 with a double major in film studies and Asian studies, with a minor in creative writing. During her time at Coe, she was a Writing Center consultant, English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor, member of International Club, member of Mortar Board and participated in Coe’s Asia Term.

During her first year at Coe, Arcand learned about the Fulbright program from retired Coe Professor and former National Fellowship Advisor Ann Struthers. 

“I knew I wanted to study abroad, and I knew that I’ve always liked teaching,” said Arcand.  “I’ve always been interested in South Korea, so I applied for the Fulbright grant.”

While applying for the Fulbright, Arcand chose South Korea through learning about the country in her Asian studies major, and because of the country’s quality of education rank. While in South Korea, Arcand will be teaching English to primary students.  She has been studying Korean in preparation for this opportunity.

“South Korea is ranked as having the best education system in the world, according to multiple sources,” said Arcand. “I chose South Korea because I wanted to go somewhere education is valued.”

While on Asia Term in the spring of 2016, Arcand took advantage of the opportunity to teach English to Burmese refugees in Thailand.  Through that experience, her desire to be a teacher was solidified. 

“It was during this trip that I realized how much I loved teaching English and helping others understand the language,” said Arcand. “Specifically, I loved how fearless they were in making mistakes and flexible in learning how to communicate using a new language.” 

Arcand received guidance on her Fulbright application from William P. and Gayle S. Whipple Professor of English Emeritus Bob Drexler, as well as Coe English Professor and National Fellow Advisor Amber Shaw, who helped with Arcand’s essay.

“Amber helped me craft my essay,” said Arcand. “It has been easy for me to convey my excitement for the program with friends, but it became difficult when trying to convey that to a committee.” 

In addition, Arcand received support and encouragement from retired ESL Director Barbara Drexler, History Professor David Nordmann, ESL instructor Kathy Welsh, and Rhetoric Professor and Director of the Writing Center Jane Nesmith.

Arcand says that she can foresee a future in teaching English to populations that have another first language proficiency.

“Teaching English is something I love,” said Arcand.  “I can foresee this as something I will be doing for my future career, maybe even in South Korea.”  

After South Korea, she hopes to attend graduate school for creative writing or screenwriting.

“The reason I came to Coe was to become a screenwriter,” said Arcand. “If I go to graduate school, my focus will be either screenwriting or creative writing. I am interested in continuing to explore my writing creatively.”

When looking back over the past four years, Arcand believes her Coe experience provided valuable preparation for her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship and her future. 

“The Coe Writing Center has helped prepare me well. It’s given me the opportunity to be constantly looking at diverse writing styles and work one-on-one with ESL students, both of which I hope to be doing for a while,” said Arcand. “The Writing Center has been a large component of my collegiate and personal development. The person I was before working in the Writing Center is so much different than who I am today.”

A graduate of North County High School, Justine is the daughter of Joe and Des Arcand of Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  More than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and early-career professionals in over 100 fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research annually in over 140 countries around the world.

Coe has established itself as a leading national producer of Fulbright scholars, with 20 in the past five years, and 28 awardees in the past decade.  This builds upon the tradition of Coe students, alumni and faculty who have received Fulbrights since the program was established.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success.  Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment.  Coe’s vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.